The Sheriff and Kingston Police arrived at J.A.K.K. Tuesdays sports bar early on Saturday morning and evicted the owner, Kelly Hale, and other patrons from the premises, enforcing a court injunction that had been served upon the owner earlier in the week.
Several protesters had gathered in the premises on Friday night and slept there overnight, with the doors locked and the intention of trying to stop any enforcement actions from taking place. The Sheriff and Kingston Police arrived on Saturday between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., informing Hale that they would be vacating the premises. At first, Hale would not unlock the door, forcing Kingston Police to resort to getting a locksmith to force the doors open.
“I’m not getting any clicks or anything,” said a locksmith attempting to open the door for Kingston Police. “We should try our pry bars,” he continued, at which point Hale agreed to let Kingston Police in.
Kingston Police had been given the authority by a Superior Court injunction to enter and vacate the premises as early as Friday evening, but based on social media posts showing large numbers of people, including several children, at the bar on Friday night, out of an abundance of caution they opted to slightly delay the enforcement, said Sgt Steve Koopman of Kingston Police. “We think delaying it was the right move, because when we arrived (on Saturday morning) there were only about ten people with the youngest being 15 and the others being adults.”
Kingston Police were able to vacate the premises without incident and the space is now under the control and care of KFL&A Public Health.
J.A.K.K. Tuesdays has seen months of escalating regulatory provincial and municipal enforcement as it refused to abide by public health regulations.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) ordered an Order of Interim Suspension of the liquor licence of J.A.K.K. Tuesdays, “for reasons of public interest and safety” on Thursday, Sept 30, 2021, and also announced its intentions to seek permanent revocation of the licence the same day. This came two weeks after the business announced its intentions to not comply with COVID-19 protocols under the provincial Reopening of Ontario Act (ROA), particularly the mandatory enforcement of proof of vaccination to enter establishments like the bar.
While awaiting the decision of the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) regarding that revocation, the business continued to violate legislation and Public Health protocols, resulting in its loss of business licence through the municipality of the City of Kingston and being served with a Section 22 Order by Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021.
Additionally, J.A.K.K. Tuesdays – which continued to remain open to the public despite all of these things – saw multiple visits from KFL&A Public Health through the first two weeks of November, all documenting the business’ non-compliance, which culminated in the sports bar being served with a Superior Court Order on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. Again, Hale refused to close his business, and remained in non-compliance as documented by KFL&A Public Health the following day. On Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, the AGCO permanently revoked the sports bar’s liquor licence after being instructed to do so by the LAT.
With files from Tori Stafford